Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Contempt...

....seems to going out to the Faster Times today, for its new ranking of lit mags.

I'm not all that contemptuous of a person, so I'm asking myself why.

If Wigleaf had made his list, would I feel different? Probably not -- though I might find myself less willing, at the moment, to say what I think...

So why then? Possibilities:

1. I've never loved Cliff Garstang's lit mag rankings, but Cliff has always been completely frank about what they represent: nothing but Pushcart success. In the Faster Times list, I see Lincoln Michel going for what Cliff is going for--an objective-type sense of which lit mags are held in high esteem. But he's not as forthcoming about how the calculations are made.

2. In the 'Why?' section – like, why offer such a list –- he suggests that he's trying to help writers who may be overwhelmed by the number of mags out there and so not know which are the most prestigious. Am I being too bone-headedly literal if I point out that another clear function of any such ranking is to rank? The Faster Times may or may not be super interested in helping fiction writers – who knows – but there's a clear enough basis for interest in stratifications, assertions of relative prestige. Who's up? Who's down? Who's in? Who's out? Tell us, People Magazine. I mean, Faster Times.

3. Back to number 1: the lack of forthcomingness about how mags are assigned 'tiers': Michel is quick to make clear that the rankings don't reflect his own favorites, among which he lists Noon, Unsaid and New York Tyrant. These happen to be among my own favorites, too. Have to say, though: a couple of mags in that general 'family' appear in the lower tiers (fuck you, I’m not listing them)—while some higher-profile/more fully established mags (Barrelhouse, for example) are omitted. Yes, I'm wondering about pandering.

4. Back to number 2: People Magazine. Why do we even do this shit? If you think, as I do, that the fiction in the New York Tyrant is, in general, better and more important than the fiction in the New Yorker, let me suggest that you have an obligation: to lend it your fire, to declare, wholeheartedly, your belief in it. You can be a tool, try to serve the man, or you can be part of how perceptions change.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I-view + Gymno @ Stymie

My D.C. Gymno is reprinted at Stymie Magazine, which has been revamped nicely (Congrats to Editor Erik Smetana and everyone else there). It's alongside an i-view conducted by Sara Lippmann. We talked about Townes Van Zandt, Gass, desire in writing and lots of other stuff. Was much fun...

Am excited to sit down and do the full reading. Some of the contributors: Brian Oliu, Dawn Corrigan, Ben Loory, Sean Lovelace, David Erlewine, and Daniel Orozco (of "Orientation" fame).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Marvel Comics is doing an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's story, "The Electric Ant." Here's the promo copy:

"Garson’s world continues to unravel around him as he ponders the nature of his existence as an Electric Ant—an organic robot. But there are interests that want to prevent Garson from discovering the truth of his situation. And they are prepared to use deadly force."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Letters to... Oh, whatever

Maybe because I e-know some e-people who are starting their non-e MFA's, I've been thinking a little about my own grad schooling.

Here's what I'd say for the benefit of those e-people, none of whom needs my help in the slightest.....

1. Your truest, you-est stories might not be the ones people love or the ones people hate. They might be the ones people don't have much basis for, the ones they meet with a not-ungenerous quiet.

2. If you're made to read or hear stuff about how much work writing is, how much bleeding and torture should be involved, be suspicious. Seriously, why the fuck would anybody ever consider doing something as nuts as fiction writing if it was no fun? Whatever a real good time is, for you, that's what you should be having when you write. Doesn't matter if it all gets thrown out.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Upcomings @ Mud Luscious

There's an excerpt from Am. Gymnos up @ Mud Luscious now, in the all-excerpt issue. Tons of real goodness here from upcoming releases by Amelia Gray, Rachel Glaser, Peter Markus, Robert Lopez, Joanna Ruocco, Alissa Nutting, Ken Sparling, Roy Kesey, Michael Kimball, Lily Hoang, Aaron Burch, Jac Jemc, James Kaelan, Adam Robinson, James Chapman, Ted Pelton, and Dawn Raffel. Thnx to J.A. Tyler for putting it all together.